A pedestrian, most likely a child, senior, or cyclist, is going to get killed by a car someday soon in Valle Crucis. They have a harder time jumping out of the way.
Valle Crucis is North Carolina’s first Official State Rural Historic District, as designated by the North Carolina Legislature. The entire community of Valle Crucis is on the National Register of Historic Places, as designated by The US Department of the Interior; a status similar to Colonial Williamsburg. And while the speed limit is 25mph. People rip through at 45-55 mph all day and night as if it was just another insignificant meaningless patch of asphalt in their way.
Ticketing is not the solution unless the police dedicate a car every day 24/7/365 for years, and which makes no sense, as it will resume within minutes of their departure. And why add insult to injury by handing out fines when it is a conceptual & design flaw, which considers Valle Crucis an insignificant place of no value or interest other than as a shortcut passage from point a to point b. The traffic creating this problem is neither the tourists nor the locals. It is the ever increasing flow through of regular commuters coming from more than ten miles away who are in a hurry. They do not visit here or live here, they simply fly through.
When people all traveled on foot, by horse or carriage, no problem, the worst that would likely happen was a bump in the head. A car meeting a child at 45mph is another universe, and is a tragedy that will mark all our lives to the end of our days.
What is it going to take to fix this problem, a human sacrifice to the gods of “benign neglect”?
We have tried for years to get the DOT’s attention so they create a couple of mini landscaped traffic circles or roundabouts, rather than speed bumps, which enable regular flow but reduce speed to safe limits, without inconveniencing drivers. And every person you speak with says it’s not their department, their hands are tied, no can do.
Valle Crucis contributes much more than people imagine to the taxes collected in Watauga County. You would think the DOT could invest a few days and $50,000 into the project to safeguard a community of this value and save lives, or if they don’t care, or believe, to safeguarding their tax base. The untold amounts of money being spent, and environmental devastation being perpetrated to widen and smoothen roads to increase passenger comfort knows no bounds.
So who or what organization is responsible? And what are they doing to resolve this problem. Are they aware of this? Do they not care? Or are they simply stumped because we find ourselves in a state of taxation without representation?
Apathy reigns supreme until someone dies, and then it’s too late and those who say it’s not their job, get to say it’s not their fault. Most of the community is well aware of this truly ever more significant problem. In small communities no one likes to make waves as costly retribution is 100% sure to follow by the authorities or the populace. Of course the easiest thing to do at any time is to bury our heads in the sand, wait and run when the inevitable happens. And while you can shoot the messenger if you like, and no doubt someone will, whoever is responsible for this needs to do what needs to be done, before it’s too late.
We can turn this problem into a success story. Let’s do it before it becomes a tragedy for a person, family, and a community.
Danielle Deschamps Stabler
Carrie Presnell White
Kathryne Zeidler Brafman